US Bank's Michael A. Shelley on Banking in Arkansas, Singing in Alabama

US Bank's Michael A. Shelley on Banking in Arkansas, Singing in Alabama
Michael Shelley

As State President of U.S. Bank, Michael A. Shelley is responsible for commercial, consumer and trust banking throughout Arkansas. He has more than 30 years of experience as a commercial banking executive, corporate CFO and CPA.

Shelley earned a BBA in accounting at the University of North Texas and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member and director of Fifty for the Future, a trustee of Baptist Health, has served as president of the Baptist Health Foundation and now serves as a member of that foundation’s advisory board.

Shelley plays piano for relaxation, sings in the Immanuel Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir and with the River City Men’s Chorus and has performed with the music group Alabama and with Duke Ellington.

Arkansas has seemed to be an outpost of your company, yet U.S. Bank is the 11th largest by deposits of 129 banks doing business in the state. What has been your strategy for gaining market share?

With 42 branch locations and 43 ATMs in the state, Arkansas is an important market for U.S. Bank. We have gained market share in Arkansas through building skilled teams to provide first-rate customer service in consumer as well as commercial and commercial real estate banking. What we do really well in Arkansas is provide credit to consumers and businesses. In 2015, we provided over $315 million in new commercial, consumer and mortgage loans.

You’ll be retiring at the end of January. What are you proudest of achieving at U.S. Bank?

The team we have built. The bank gave me the entrepreneurial freedom to create and mold business units to meet the needs of our communities in Arkansas. You cannot find that sort of creative freedom at other large companies. The ability to identify, hire and mentor people and then to see them succeed and grow has been the best part of my leadership role.

How has technology changed banking during your career?

Technological changes in banking transformed the manner and speed of processing transactions and the manner in which we interact with customers. Many customer encounters are now electronic, and that requires robust systems and frequent technology updates.

You’ve been active in the community in central Arkansas. What will retirement look like for you?

It looks pretty busy. In planning for retirement, I moved off some boards and in most cases had some of my senior staff replace me. Baptist Health has always had a special place in my heart; I am moving to a more active role on that board in 2016. We love to ride bicycles, so you can look for me to be on the River Trail quite a bit. I also hope to spend more time at the piano and with my grandchildren.

Tell us about your performances with Duke Ellington and Alabama.

Duke Ellington and his band came to Dallas to perform his jazz mass in 1973. I was a college music student and was selected to sing the tenor solo in the performances. Duke told me I “had a lot of soul for a white boy,” the highest musical compliment I could have received.

In the 1990s I had the good fortune to serve as banker to the band Alabama, and we became friends with band members Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry. Teddy called me from a recording studio in Nashville and said they were looking at a new song, “Angels Among Us,” and Randy said he “could hear Michael” singing this with them. The song was a hit and is found on their “Cheap Seats” and “Greatest Hits III” albums.

I ended up singing three different background parts and my voice was doubled, so there are six of me on the song. My wife, Judy, and our youngest son, Aaron, also sing on the recording, and Aaron is in the music video as well. We performed the song live at June Jam in Fort Payne, Alabama, before about 50,000 fans.